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Your Business

News/Business. A focus on issues facing small business in the United States.

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Lauren 9, Us 6, Phil 3, U.s. 3, Msnbc 2, America 2, J.j. Ramberg 2, San Francisco 2, United States 1, New York 1, Kimchi 1, Bagel 1, Garden Grove 1, Indianapolis 1, Philadelphia 1, California 1, Ining 1, On Facebook 1, An American Express 1, Indiana 1,
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  MSNBC    Your Business    News/Business. A focus on issues  
   facing small business in the United States.  

    December 9, 2012
    4:30 - 5:00am PST  

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small business is booming. the founder of an exotic food product faces difficult decision. the creators of a hip vintage clothing line opens new stores and how to take the company public. coming up, how to thrive next on
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"your business." >> small businesses are revitalizing the economy. american express open is here to help. why we're proud to present "your business" on msnbc. >> hi there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg. welcome to "your business," the show dedicated to giving you tips and advice to help your small business grow. for most of us, starting up a business is risky, relentless an, let's face it, stressful. get going past that start-up can
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sometimes seem like the end of the process but as the further of mother-in-law's kim chi discovered, that's when the growing pains can begin. from tacos to pizza to bagel, many ethnic foods have been easily adopted into america's mainstream diet but not all of them. >> i never imagined i would be in the business of selling korean food let alone something like kim chi. it is an extreme food. >> that's lauren, founder of mother-in-law's kim chi. her mother owns a popular korean restaurant in garden grove, california and she's been there since 1989. >> all this pressure. >> reporter: since she was a small child, lauren's mother has warned her, never share kim chi with non-koreans. >> they cannot adjust to eating.
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it's not good. >> while this cabbage dish is a staple in many korean families, its pungent aroma can be off putting for people who didn't grow up with it. i have mother-in-law's kim chi and a vegan recipe. >> that's why it's ironic several years later lauren has built a successful business producing kim chi and sells it at whole foods and grocery stores. >> they will look at me, that's odd, wise she serving kim chi to non-koreans. >> that's how lauren thought about kim chi, too, until five years ago when she lost her job as a high end wine promoter. >> when the financial downturn hit and i lost my marketing job, instead of looking for the next marketing job in another company, i thought it was the right opportunity to go into business for myself. >> she realized she could useun
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and cheese market to introduce kim chi to a new base. >> she takes it to the next level, makes it organic. it's not kim chi sold in a bucket to china town. it's different from what's able. >> a san francisco based food and beverage entrepreneur recognized early on lauren's marketing approach that used a non-ethnic looking bottle design and non-ethnic distribution strategy was catching on with mainstream shopper. >> have you had kimchi before? >> today, lauren is at an orange county whole food supermarket that sells her products and offering kimchi inside a grilled cheese sandwich. >> it mellows out the flavor. >> the sample is from a recipe of a book she just published introducing the kimchy. >> i pushed the kimchy cookbook, 60 modern ways to ed kimchi
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because i wanted to people to understand it's beyond a condiment, you can eat with it, cook with it. >> do you want to try this first? a grilled cheese with kimchi. >> cheeses and wines and natural products have a common thread and kimchi is part of that food. >> five years later with her product now in widespread mainstream distribution, she's ready to expand her business to the nerkt levxt level. >> i'm beyond a start-up and at the stage looking to see how i can grow and fund my business. who would have thought salsa or humus would be such a staple in american i do eldiets today. >> while she's managed not taking on investors that has to change. at this point she can't expand competitively without outside help. >> she has distribution where it's heavily of the business,
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getting your product to market. >> cynthia watches small scale producers like lauren ready to jump to the next level and she connects them with private investors. >> a private equity banker at encore consumer capital in san francisco. while he's not yet ready to invest in mother-in-law's kim y kimchi, the brand is clearly on his radar. >> she's gotten into retail grocery stores and stern food establishments and restaurants. what we like to see is a little bit further along the life cycle and see repeat revenues and getting further distribution. >> likewise, lauren isn't sure she's ready for encore capital's level of investment and collaboration either. >> i heard stories about people losing control of their company or really not having an understanding of what the potential liabilities are. you have to be cautious about all those things as a business person. >> there are stigmas out there
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when you take investment capital you're giving up a part of ownership of the company and you lose control of the business. that is not necessarily, at all times, the case. >> for a lot of investor relationship, it's kind of like dating. it takes a while to get to know someone, get to know them a little bit over time. you become more intimate, kind of get a feel for what they want. >> lauren appreciates the comparison. >> such a fawny way of -- i guess i'm dating a lot these days. >> she might be the next next thing. you never know. >> where she'll get her funding is still up in the air. lauren has big plans to build her market share and she knows she will need big money to make that happen. >> i'm cautious and realistic about what it means to take somebody's money. i know that having funding will help me grow my business sales and product category exponentially. ♪ >> having a business grow to the
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point where investors are interested is many small business owner's dream. as we just saw, there are a lot of factors to consider. who better to talk about this than today's great board of directors. phil is an investment advisor and entrepreneur and best selling author. you can find him at ruleo ruleoneinvesting.com. >> and a media entrepreneur and founder of a movement, organization uniting and latino entrepreneurs. >> i host ed venture capitalist and we spent just as much time as why they shouldn't take investors and what it takes to get these people to invest in their company. >> i was cranking notes. she's concerned about losing control. i think this is a myth, i do. i've been around he venture capital industry for 30 years and never met a single one of people putting up the money who
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want control of the company. nobody does. what they want is for you to hit your business plan. what happens when entrepreneurs don't, then somebody comes in and starts to try to make sense out of the whole thing. that's where you can lose control. >> i don't think she's quite ready for the money yet. i really related to her. i think she's a winner and will be very successful. when you come from, as i have, a minority background and you do work around your pain. her mother said, don't sell this! she has a little shame about it growing up, just like i did about being the kid of immigrants, when you work in your pain and come from an immigrant background and you're so conservative and you do everything right she's done, she's going to succeed. i think, in order to raise money, she still needs to find her brand extensions. usually food companies have to have -- you have to have extension products. she's got one product. i think when she starts going deeper into her korean background and has a line of
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products and now she did the hard part, distribution, that's when i would go after the money. i wouldn't go after the money too early and give away a big percentage too early. >> i'd be afraid of her stretching out and already really in the marketing budget. i would say, dig that first product in and make sure it's really catching fire. and that's, i think, where she could get some help with. you may be right about extending this thing. if she got help from angel investors who have already been there in her industry, already sitting there with a bucket of money and looking for somebody to mentor, she can find somebody to help her take it one step at a time, without that worry about losinge ing control. >> they really decided what is our brand and -- >> let me ask a question. let's say she's doing well, her company is doing well in whole foods and fresh market, all
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these great places but she doesn't have enough money to do into these brand extensions. what does she do then? take a loan? >> i think there's a lot of money at the government. one of the things i've been doing on my tour is realizing the u.s. government has all kinds of earmarked moneys for minorities and women, particularly women. they don't have the money to market those opportunities but they're there. i think there's all kinds of opportunities where there's small business loan, government contra contracts, there's all kinds of things, other ways she can det money right now without giving up a piece of the company. >> this is going to be a war. knew get the last word. >> if i sold out early on i wouldn't have made the money made. i think those of us that know a certain market, she knows her market and extending it. usually when you know your market really well it becomes universal. knew don't have to be in the government to get the money. the private equity.
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i think she gets a lot better advice if she goes to an angel. >> we will leave it there and love a panel that disagrees with each other. thanks. another company is seeing rapid growth thanks to a '50s pin-up star. bettie page clothing has come a long way since we last reported on them. the vintage clothing line based on the iconic model has added stores in new york, philadelphia, boston and salt lake city and has bishop a publicly traded company. its success can be attributed to the uniqueness of the designs and procuring that all important licensing deal. ♪ bettie page where did you go doesn't anybody know ♪ >> what makes bettie page the quintessential pin-up is the fact she's very naughty and very innocent and has hat nethat gir door feel. >> she was like a meteor. she came in the early '50s and
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disappe disappeared in the late '50s. >> bettie page was an iconic 1950s pin-up model. how did she get connected to pair of entrepreneurs, midwestern lawyer and the founder of playboy? >> jan and his wife wanted to set up their retro clothing store in a place filled with tourists. >> in las vegas if you're going to open a store, it has to be on the strip. i approached miracle mile and inquired about the ability to get a store. they said, well, we would be interested except that to open a store anywhere on the strip you have to be an experienced retailer and need at least one other store. >> typical of other entrepreneurs their lack of experience wasn't going to deflate their dream. they went back to the maul operator and asked if branding their line with a celebrity would compensate for lack of retail experience. >> we did research on '50s
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inspired fashions. several names kept coming up. one was marilyn monroe. another was bettie page. she was scandalous, she was edgy. i'm think, okay, that's las vegas. >> tatiana behind manufacturing the 1950s era clothes hadn't even heard of bettie page. >> we found a lot of information about the pictures and i really fall in love and that was a perfect name. >> bettie's name was made famous by hugh hefner and she stopped modeling and went into a life of obscurity and died in 2008. since then, she introduced him to a property lawyer and cmd in indianapolis, indiana. mark is responsible for licensing thousands of products bearing bettie's name and
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likeness worth several million dollars of revenue each year. >> we developed her into a brand and the name bettie page is trademarked and valuable. >> for jan and tatiana branding their 1950s clothing e ining wa for their quickly evolving business plan. >> he thought he had the first store and if it went like he thought it would go, he could roll out a chain of these stores throughout the country. >> with the bettie page branding pro-kurd procured, las vegas was ready to open a store. >> without the bettie page number we probably couldn't open the store at the miracle mile. >> tourists flocked to the unique store. >> i was looking for bettie page and the search on the internet
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brought it up. i was attracted and while they sell retro clothes and a nice fit as well. >> licensing the bettie page name has created a symbiotic relationship where mark and cmg connect the store to other products of bettie page branding with lingerie and shoes. >> the business is growing, a lot of cash flow and we're growing because it seems like the natural thing to do. >> when we come back, nelly and phil will answer your small business questions on finding a manufacturer in the u.s. and the pitfalls of moving your company to a new location. today's elevator picture with a line of clothing and accessories with a heart warming message for this holiday season. we've all had those moments.
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when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. don't be a scrooge. tis the season to help other. our panelists hopes her messa s message worth silver and gold. >> after a rude experience several years ago, i decided to send a message to the world and
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i put "be good to people" on a t-shirt and now be good to people is traveling the world on all kinds of cool products like these, inspiring kindness wherever it goes. people absolutely love be good to people. our customers make repeat purchases and become huge brand evangelists. i'm here to ask for money to take it to the next level. we have been on web sales and farmers markets and now ready to go further. for this investment our investors will expect a 30% return over a two year period and we will use it for market, increase our web presence, social media presence, get valuable pr, get more product very and product development. snoop nice job. i didn't mean to interrupt you. >> i want to hear more. >> now, the time thing is -- >> you did a great job. phil, you are an old hat at
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this. how did she do? did she get testifying in that pitch? >> there's a lot more to do. i think you hooked me emotionally. i never talk about this. that's the most important thing you can do is get an emotional hook in. there's just something about this, yeah. grabs the heart a little bit. there's a lot more i'd love to hear from you, when we can swap. have a meeting about that. i would give you a total 10 on this. it was good. >> nelly, you hear pitching everyday from women entrepreneurs. what do you think? >> the fact you're doing social entrepreneurship, to me, is the way to go right now, is amazing. the fact there's an existing company that says life is good, i think this brand is deeper, better and more valuable right now. i don't know why you even need to raise money. i'd go to them and see if they'll buy or merge with you. i think this is such a great idea and it's so important right now, i hope you trademark the name in spanish and in other languages because i think right now, it's a world market, am i
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right? nobody else has done this in other cultures. and you better do it before i steal the idea from you. >> watch out, when you get the url in spanish, owned by nelly. i don't have to ask this question. i am going to. would you take another meeting? >> yes, for sure. >> you're great with this, by the way. you're perfect to be doing it. >> chris, congratulations. thanks for your help with this. if any of you out there have a product or service and you want feedback from our from our elevator pitch panel on your chances of getting interested investors, send us an e-mail, the address is. linkedin is a top program.
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are you using it effectively. five things you may be doing wrong. one, you have an incomplete profile. keep your accomplishments up to date. don't forget to optimize your profile for search. two, you don't belong to the right groups. join, at the least, your alumni groups. it's a clear next step. three, you are not sharing valuable content. when you publish a great log entry hosted on your linkedin. four, you are not building out your connections. don't wait until you need something. you should be constantly adding and accepting things you know from people professionally and personally. five, you are not utilizing linkedin answers. this area gets visited by people with similar questions. it can generate leads a year later.
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it's time to answer some of "your business" questions. phil and nely are with us again. the next is about keeping customers. >> we have been in the same location for over 20 years. we had to move to a new location. how do we attract our old customers to our new store and get new customers to our store? >> it's hard. the place she moved to, it doesn't have as much foot traffic. what can she do? >> i hope she had the e-mails of all her customers. in today's world, if you don't have them, you are missing the boat. >> she does not have them. >> okay. assume she does not. >> what i think is the future of retail is kreuate events in your store. couples night, roman novel night. it's a way to market and bring people into the store. i look at blockbuster going
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under. why not have date night, movie night, oldies night. turn it into an event. then people fall in love with you not because of your store or product, it's a social getting together. i think it's the number one thing i see smart retailers doing. >> it's a great idea. get techie here and go to the google guys and get the google map thing changed. go old school. i think they are old school. go paper. the civil service exam sights. get the neighbors there, put the posters up. do flyers and stuff like that. i'm sure she needs to dominate google listings. she's a bookstore. how hard is it to dominate the google civil service bookstore. >> next time, do a rewards program so you can get the e-mails. >> yes, and get people to like you on facebook.
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here is the last question. it's about doing business here in the states versus overseas. >> how can we find manufactures in the united states that will do small runs for our business? we found one that does clothing, but we haven't been able to find anyone that can do socks or bags. >> isn't that interesting? we get this question all the time. when i heard it a few years ago, i thought this can't be that hard. it's hard to find. >> it is hard. what i was going to think about, i thought, you know what, i have seen great companies start by manufacturing their stuff themselves. the cost of things has gone down and down and down. it might be well within her range. you know, a company like patagonia, they did everything themselves. in the sbas government website, there are all these manufacturers trying to promote u.s. made things. they have a listing. i think we forget.
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the government doesn't market to us, they have a lot of knowledge and resources we can tap into. >> what i would encourage her to do is dig through the internet and look for manufacturers in the data base. look for the ones with a private label. they will do the manufacturing. >> women we spoke to, she went knocking on doors, door after door after door. it took a long time, finally, she found someone to manufacture her clothes. >> countmein.org is for women. there are resources. dig online. >> as we moved into 2013, since it's the end of the year, how do you feel? optimistic, pessimistic? >> totally optimistic. >> are you ever pessimistic? >> no. you can't as an entrepreneur. their life is best when things are bad. we find holes when things are bad. didn't you hear warren buffett say when others are greedy, i'm
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conservative. when they are conservative, i'm greedy. right now, there are emerging markets. latino women. go after segmented markets that nobody is going after and you are going to find a windfall of money for your business. >> i always say a good idea, well implemented, doesn't matter what the economy is doing, you are going to be successful. >> people started business in russia's revolution. >> fedex. >> fedex starpted like that. not in the russian revolution. >> right. >> i would say it could be a bumpy ride. there's opportunity. you have to have the resources. careful with your cash. don't do anything that doesn't generate return on your investment. >> you cannot be afraid to fail. failure is your best friend. it has to be with you all the time because it's okay. when you look at the people in
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the internet, so many of them failed. the next thing is a success. you cannot look at things as that's a problem and be afraid. you have to look at it as it's part of a journey. >> yeah. >> we know. i have failed more than i have succeeded and we are fine, right? >> as long as you learn from your failure. >> they don't shoot you. >> you lose a leg. that's it. thank you so much for all of your help. it was great advice. if any of you have a question for our experts, go to our website. the address is open forum.com/"your business." again, the website is openforum.com/yourbusiness, or, if you would rather, e-mail your questions and comments to, yourbusiness@msnbc.com. they had helpful advice about how to improve your
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business. let's get great ideas from small business owners like you. >> if you are going to open a business, you should know the demographics of the area you are in. i have a bunch of restaurants. each one of them, we decide whether or not they should be more child friendly or adult friendly. always know that and always know your customers. >> my great idea to fellow entrepreneurs is to finds a mentor that you can click with, that you believe in and to hold on to your faith. >> find a way with your small business to give back to the community. i think everybody has -- america is full of people who generously give. if you can make it easy for clients to give back to charities through the work you do with them, it's a fantastic way to help them and help yourself and others. with people spending more and more time on their
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smartphones and tablets, it's important to have a mobile presence. if you don't have one, check out the website of the week. mshopper.com helps you build a store front using design tools. every order is input directly into your existing shopping cart. standard ordering is streamlined. it provides a mobile marketing program that trance mitts promotions to your customers. to learn more about today's show, click on our website. it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive content to help your business grow. follow us on twitter@msnbc your biz. become a fan of us on facebook. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business.